“In Lyon, true light comes from below rather than from above”, wrote Frédéric Dard. An easy observation to prove by going down into the city.
Perched at the top of the famous Tour Part-Dieu, nicknamed “the Pencil”, the Radisson Blu Hotel dominates the city. The first thing to do is to have a cocktail in the Celest Bar to best enjoy the breathtaking panoramic view as far as the eye can see over the former capital of Gaul.
In the distance you can see the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière right in front of the old town of Lyon and its quai de Saône, a charming medieval and Renaissance neighborhood and, because of this, very touristy. At its center is the Cathedral of Saint-Jean which offers a magnificent example of 13th-century Gothic architecture under the spring sunshine.
Closer, on the peninsula, are luxury houses that have sprung up around the trapezoid-shaped Place Bellecour, particularly along the Rue de la République, which extends up to the Place de la Comédie. Here, the city hall and the opera house face each other, the very contemporary renovation of which was entrusted to Jean Nouvel. At the southern end of the peninsula stands the splendid, deconstructivist Musée des Confluences, whose permanent exhibition trail, in an open setting, tells the history of humanity over 3,000 m2. Make the most of your stop by discovering the “Venenum, a poisonous world” exhibit from April 15.
On the north end, the very vibrant 1st arrondissement contains the magnificent Place des Terreaux, as well as, for all fans of creative cooking, on the slopes of the Croix-Rousse, a dream gourmet destination: Mère Brazier and its highly inspired chef, Mathieu Viannay, Meilleur Ouvrier de France 2004.
You will discover other fantastic spots in the nearby Brotteaux neighborhood, the starting point for the celebrations marking the arrondissement’s 150th anniversary through June 24. Last of all, if you have to do a quick shopping trip, you just have to go down the lower level of the Tour Part-Dieu: another city center awaits you.